Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel

Momentum in Digital Initiatives


Industrial-age companies leverage digital technology for digital product innovation to increase speed and customer-centricity. They launch digital initiatives to develop future-ready organizational structures, practices, and processes. However, when executing such initiatives, what was considered a source of success in the past (processes, practices, mindset) turns into a roadblock. Thus, realizing value from such initiatives involves resolving multiple tensions between different development approaches, leadership practices, and organizational setups. As part of this research project, we draw on qualitative methods (interviews, case studies) to explore these tensions and investigate how digital leaders overcome organizational inertia and create momentum.

Research Questions:

  • What types of tensions and forms of organizational inertia that digital leaders are confronted with in digital initiatives?
  • How can digital leaders overcome organizational inertia, respond to emerging tensions and generate momentum in their digital initiatives?

Expected Outcomes:

  • A framework that describes the forms of organizational inertia and the practices digital leaders pursue to create momentum
  • A process theory of how industrial-aged organizations accomplish digital product innovation

Research Team:

  • Project Owner: Thomas Haskamp
  • Project Collaborators from Academia:
    • MIT Center for Information Systems Research, United States: Ina Sebastian, Nils Fonstad
    • University of St Gallen (HSG): Christian Dremel
    • Case Western Reserve University, United States: Youngjin Yoo
    • University of Notre Dame, United States: Nicholas Berente
  • Project Collaborators from Practice
    • Porsche AG
    • ZF Commercial Vehicle Solutions 
    • Deutsche Bank AG

Project Period:

The project started in 2021 and will end in 2023


Digital leaders and executives from pre-digital companies

Thesis Topics:

Get in touch with Thomas Haskamp if you want to write a thesis as part of this project.

Related Publications:

Haskamp, T., Dremel, C., Marx, C., & Uebernickel, F. (2021). Understanding Inertia in Digital Transformation: A Literature Review and Multilevel Research Framework. ICIS Proceedings 2021. Forty-Second International Conference on Information Systems, Austin, USA.

Sebastian, I., Haskamp, T., & Fonstad, N. (2023, June). Generating Momentum in Digital Business Transformations. MIT Sloan CISR Research Briefing, XXIII(6).

Haskamp, T., Dremel, C., Berente, N., Yoo, Y., & Uebernickel, F. (2022). Punctuated Multi-Layered Liminality in Digital Transformation: The Case of an Automotive Platform. ICIS Proceedings 2022. International Conference on Information Systems, Kopenhagen, Denmark.

Haskamp, T., Dremel, C., Marx, C., Rinkes, U., & Uebernickel, F. (2023). The New in the Old: Managing Inertia and Resulting Tensions in Digital Value Creation. In G. S. D. A. K. C. D. Kathryn Brohman (Ed.), Digitalization and Sustainability: Advancing Digital Value. (Forthcoming)